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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:44 pm 
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Starting a new thread following up on what Lawrence Cooper posted below:

LawrenceCooper wrote:
I believe that Luke's 3.5/4 in the Bundesliga take his "live" rating to 2701 albeit there are six rounds left that will be played before the league is rated.


That's impressive. Does anyone know what the top peak ratings past and present are for UK and England chess players?

According to Wikipedia, Michael Adams reached 2755 in the July 2000 rating list and Nigel Short reached 2712 in the April 2004 rating list. McShane's current rating is 2691 (January 2012 list). I looked at a few other English chess players, but I couldn't find any with peak ratings even remotely approaching 2700. Are Adams and Short the only England players to have (had) ratings that high?

The other thing is what absolute peak ratings mean when comparing different eras? It is almost certainly better to look at other things, such as relative strength compared to others at the time (e.g. what the number one rating was at the time and ranking relative to that), and actual results in tournaments and world championships.

For example, John Nunn's peak rating was 2630 in the January 1995 list. Tony Miles' peak rating was 2635 in the January 1996 list. Are there other players who reached the 2600s in the 1990s? Julian Hodgson's peak rating was 2640 in the July 2000 list. Bogdan Lalic's peak rating of 2600 was in 1997. Jonathan Speelman was 2623 in July 2000 and was as high as 2645 in January 1989 (to give some idea of what that meant back then, that placed him sixth on that rating list, with Short joint third at 2665 - in the January 1989 list, Speelman was fourth with 2640 and Short third with 2650). The only other player I can find that ascended that high in rankings in the world rating lists is Michael Adams, who reached number 4 in the world several times between October 2000 and October 2002.

Back in the present, those with 2600+ ratings include Matthew Sadler (peak rating of 2668 in 1999 and 2660 in January 2012), Gawain Jones (peak rating of 2653, January 2012), and David Howell (peak rating of 2633 in September 2011, and 2603 in January 2012).

So a couple of questions:

(1) Was Short's third in the January 1989 rating list the best ever ranking by an England player?
(2) Is Michael Adams' 2755 the highest-ever absolute rating for an England player?
(3) Is it possible to compare ratings and performances from different eras?
(4) Have I missed out any strong players from the above?
(5) What are the strongest individual performances ever by England players?

Question 4 is only intended to apply to the era following the establishment of the FIDE rating lists in the early 1970s. I know there were England and UK players before that era who were strong players for their time, but I want to limit this to players where actual numbers and statistics are available. I've presumed this to be mostly 2600+ and 2700+ players, but is there a case for including 2500+ players when looking at the 1970s and 1980s?

Question 5 is intended to cover individual tournaments, Olympiad and team event board performances, and also match performances and world championship performances (and possibly rapid events such as the ones sponsored by Intel). For example, what are the highest-ever TPRs (Tournament Performance Ratings) by an England player in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to present? Or TPRs relative to the ratings at the time? There are several recent 2800+ TPRs I'm aware of, but not sure how many there are.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:11 pm 
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You can doubt rating reconstructions after the event, but both Chessmetrics and Elo (in his book "The rating of Chessplayers") give Blackburne #2 spot for a long period around 1880. Chessmetrics has Gunsberg (a long time before he became a naturalised Brit), top spot in February 1889.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:50 pm 
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I don't know of any TPRs by an English player higher than Yang-Fan Zhou's 3038 at Brighton last year, although TPRs based on 100% scores aren't really very meaningful.

3) is very difficult. My guess would be that over time, the world ranking resulting from any given rating has been falling, whereas the standard of play implied by it has been rising. You could probably use computer analysis on the latter to see if my guess holds.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:30 am 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
For example, John Nunn's peak rating was 2630 in the January 1995 list. Tony Miles' peak rating was 2635 in the January 1996 list. Are there other players who reached the 2600s in the 1990s?

I am almost certain that Murray Chandler crossed that threshold - partly because Wikipedia says so, but mostly because I remember congratulating him in person on doing so.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:34 am 
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IM Jack Rudd wrote:
I don't know of any TPRs by an English player higher than Yang-Fan Zhou's 3038 at Brighton last year, although TPRs based on 100% scores aren't really very meaningful.

3) is very difficult. My guess would be that over time, the world ranking resulting from any given rating has been falling, whereas the standard of play implied by it has been rising. You could probably use computer analysis on the latter to see if my guess holds.


I had forgotten Yang-Fan Zhou's 3038. It you put that to one side for the moment (though it should still be included), what are the other results? The three recent 2800+ TPRs I was thinking of was that one by Matthew Sadler, the performance by Adams at the recent Olympiad, and surely one or more of McShane's performances at the London Chess Classic have been 2800+? It was performances like that I was thinking of.

EDIT: McShane's TPR at the London Chess Classic 2011 (5/8) was 2853 and at the London Chess Classic 2010 (4.5/7) it was 2838. The board one gold medal at the 2011 Olympiad by Adams (6.5/9) was a TPR of 2841. Sadler's 8/9 at the Oslo Chess International 2011 was a TPR of 2849. To put that in context a bit, Kramnik's TPR at the 2011 London Chess Classic (6/8) was 2935. And Short's performances at Gibraltar in 2011 and 2012 were 2883 (8.5/10) and (8/10) 2838 respectively. Ivanchuk of course at Gibraltar in 2011 got 9/10 and a TPR of 2968.

On the bit about ranking and absolute rating over time, I agree, though I have no intention of doing any computer analysis to prove anything of that sort! What I would like to find out is what ranking the top England players of the 1970s and 1980s had on the FIDE lists, as well as their rating relative to the top players. I might try and ferret through that Olympbase website (which has the ratings lists from the 1970s-2000) at some point and see what comes up, unless it has been done already.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
I might try and ferret through that Olympbase website (which has the ratings lists from the 1970s-2000) at some point and see what comes up, unless it has been done already.


Chess and the BCM would have run articles giving extracts from the rating list. If you have access to these and the index, this is another source. From memory, Karpov and later Kasparov got close to Fischer's 1972 rating. Below that, very few players even reached 2600. The top English players may have been 150 points or more below Karpov, but so was everyone else.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:44 pm 
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According to Wikipedia both Nunn and Miles (born 2 days apart, fascinatingly... or not!) reached no9 in the World. Stuart Conquest peaked at 2601.


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